An overhead image of a number of air compression units and cylinders

A simple guide to nitrogen generation



Many manufacturing and other industrial processes require a steady, clean supply of nitrogen, but if you’re still buying bottles or tanks, you may be missing out on the savings that can be gained from generating your own supply of this essential industrial gas.

A nitrogen generator can quickly and easily be integrated into your existing compressed air system – often as a plug-and-play unit or on a skid – and can noticeably reduce your operating costs.

Here’s our quick guide to nitrogen generation.

What are the properties of nitrogen?

First isolated in 1772 by the Scottish physician and scientist, Daniel Rutherford, nitrogen is a compound of all living creatures and is, of course, present in the air we breathe. One of Saturn’s moons, Titan, has a dense atmosphere composed almost entirely of nitrogen.

Nitrogen is:

  • Lighter than air
  • Colourless
  • Odourless
  • Largely non-combustible

It also has low solubility in water and becomes liquid in very low temperatures.

Which industries require a supply of nitrogen?

A wide range of sectors utilise nitrogen in their production processes, in many cases to prevent oxidation. Examples include:

  • Food and drink – from food packaging to bottle filling
  • Metals – laser cutting and injection moulding
  • Glass and ceramics – as a cooling agent and for surface coating
  • Pharmaceutical – as a constituent of most drugs
  • Electronics – in the production of components such as diodes and transistors

What are the benefits of in-house production?

In any production process using nitrogen, reliability of supply is key – and that’s what you get from a good-quality nitrogen generator, such as the Atlas Copco ranges supplied by Simm Engineering.

As well as non-stop availability, when and where you need it, having your own nitrogen generator on hand takes away the need for rental and transport costs, while reducing operational spend.

It’s also a time saver – no longer will you have to stop production while you change gas bottles over, or use up manpower on bottle deliveries.

Finally, you can also rely on the purity of the nitrogen supply and match it to your needs, from 95% to 99.999% purity.

What sort of machinery would I be looking at?

This will depend on your application and usage. Some machines have internal membranes, others use Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) to generate nitrogen.

Atlas Copco skids, comprising air compressor and nitrogen generator with air treatment, offer a complete ready-to-use package that can be adapted to suit your requirements.

In short…

Payback on a new machine can be surprisingly quick, not to mention the peace of mind of having a guaranteed and pure supply of nitrogen for all your applications. Alternatively, talk to us about machine hire options.

If you are currently using nitrogen bottles or tanks and would like to know more about nitrogen generators – or if you are thinking of upgrading your current system – contact our experienced team at; 0114 244 0764.